Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Poached Pompano with Dill Sauce, and Pork Stew alla Milanese



I didn't start thinking about dinner tonight until pretty late and so it was another round of "let's see what we can whip up with what's in the ref & pantry." So like MacGyver trapped in a garage with six armed terrorists waiting outside, I cracked my knuckles and got to work.


Found:
» matchbox-sized Stewing cuts of pork (pang sigang), still frozen
» leftover crudités (carrot & celery)
» various fresh herbs: rosemary,thyme, dill, tarragon
» the tail half of a pompano
» a week-old, half-zested lemon

I started with the pork....

Read the rest of this post...


I didn't start thinking about dinner tonight until pretty late and so it was another round of "let's see what we can whip up with what's in the ref & pantry." So like MacGyver trapped in a garage with six armed terrorists waiting outside, I cracked my knuckles and got to work.


Found:
» matchbox-sized Stewing cuts of pork (pang sigang), still frozen
» leftover crudités (carrot & celery)
» various fresh herbs: rosemary,thyme, dill, tarragon
» the tail half of a pompano
» a week-old, half-zested lemon


I started with the pork. I decided I'd cook it the way I would some osso buco. Thawing the pork out was no mean feat. I'm leery about thawing in the microwave and so I did it the hard way under running water. That done I seasoned and the pork pieces and dredged them in flour before searing in butter. When well browned I plunked them along with a handful of celery leaves into a pot of water to start tenderizing. Next, the mirepoix (1 large onion, an equal amount of carrot, a couple of celery ribs, all minced). Softened the vegetables in the same pan I'd seared the pork in, deglazed with about half a cup of white wine, reduced. By this time the pork stock was boiling furiously. Tossed in six big ripe tomatoes, and that brought it down to a simmer. Took the tomatoes out, and had Sarah peel, deseed and chop them up. The tomatoes joined the mirepoix, and (after I removed the celery leaves) so did the pork and the stock. Tossed in a sprig of thyme, a couple of strips of lemon peel, a bay leaf, and more wine. Boiled off the wine, and throttled down to a simmer for a couple of hours. Finished the dish with a little butter, and some incomplete gremolata (minced garlic and lemon zest...I'd run out of parsley)


While all that was going on I'd been making some simple court-bouillon (water, white wine, celery, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, some carrot, a quartered onion), and in a tiny saucepan I'd been reducing some white wine & lemon juice with the chopped dill leaves. Strained off the court-bouillon and poached the fish in it just until flaking. Tossed in the rest of the carrot and some cabbage. Finished the dill sauce with a cream reduction, and that was dinner. A pilaf or some risotto would've been nice but the rice was already happily steaming away before I even started thinking about dinner so that was that.


Everybody loved both dishes..Papa was particularly taken with the pork, but wished it was just a tiny bit more lemony. I admitted I'd scrimped a little on the gremolata hehehe.


During dinner I was thinking about dessert but nobody had any space left for it ;-)

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